If your family is anything like mine, then finding ways to make day drinking acceptable, and more importantly distracting and time-consuming is Xmas priority order No. 1. Christmas Punch, Eggnog and Mulled wine, and hold the judgement please. Because what better use is there for that leftover sloe gin from bonfire night and that half bottle of Jägermeister still inexplicably in your cupboard, than slipping it into the Christmas punch anyway?
“A Classic to start”
You can’t go wrong with a bit of Mulled Wine, seriously, if you mess this up there’s always the back-up £3 bottle on offer at Asda that you can switch at the last minute!
750ml bottle Red Wine
1 large cinnamon stick, or 2 small ones
2 star anise
2 strips lemon zest, pared using a vegetable peeler
4 tbsp caster sugar
100ml Sloe Gin
Put the red wine, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lemon zest and sugar in a large pan. Cook on a low heat for 10 mins.
Remove from the heat and cool, leaving to infuse for about 30 mins.
To serve, heat without boiling, stir in the sloe gin and pour into mugs or heatproof glasses.
“Get in the Christmas spirit, Mary!”
Once the wine morning is over, it’s time for Liquid Lunch with Christmas Punch!
1l cloudy apple juice
250ml sloe gin
50ml herbal liqueur (we used Jägermeister)
1 ball stem ginger, finely sliced plus 2 tbsp of the syrup
3-4 sprigs rosemary
1 clementine, finely sliced
A bunch of frozen red grapes and cranberries
The day before you want to serve, put the grapes and cranberries in the freezer for around 8-12 hrs or until frozen. Chill the prosecco and apple juice in the fridge.
When you’re ready to serve, put the frozen grapes and a generous handful of ice in a large 2-3 litre punch bowl and pour all of the remaining ingredients on top. Stir gently to combine, then serve. Sits well for up to 3 hrs before putting the ice in.
“Let’s put rum in the custard!”
Pudding? Booze? Eggnog, baby!
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl until light and creamy.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cream, milk, nutmeg and salt. Stir often until mixture reaches a bare simmer. Add a big spoonful of the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously. Repeat, adding a big spoonful at a time, to temper the eggs.
Once most of the hot milk has been added to the eggs, pour the mixture back into the saucepan on the stove. Whisk constantly for just a few minutes, until the mixture is just slightly thickened (or until it reaches about 160 degrees F on a thermometer). It will thicken more as it cools.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the eggnog into a pitcher or other container and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled. It will thicken as it cools. If you want a thinner, completely smooth consistency, you can add the entire mixture to a blender with 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk and blend until smooth.
Add booze as desired – or not at all to keep it child friendly. Traditional options include whiskey, spiced rum or brandy. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon, and fresh whipped cream.
You can store homemade eggnog in the fridge for up to one week, if it makes it that far.
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